With the Big Ten being the best conference for volleyball in the nation and the Badgers coincidentally being part of that, we are going to do a weekly wrap of all the important Big Ten action — along with the occasional recap of the big games across the country.
Without further ado, the Bucky’s Fifth Quarter Big Ten volleyball roundup:
- Heading into the first weekend of conference play, there were three undefeated teams in the Big Ten. Now, there are zero.
Maryland — who somehow is still not ranked despite beating the then-No. 2 Badgers — now has one loss on the season after they lost to the Minnesota Gophers in Minnesota in straight sets. Frankly, the Gophers kicked the Terps’ butt 25-13, 25-12, 25-16. The Terps now get the pleasure of playing two other ranked teams in a row: Penn State and Ohio State.
Hey speaking of Ohio State, they were undefeated. But the Buckeyes now have two losses after ranked battles against Purdue, a 3-2 loss, and Penn State, a 3-0 sweep. I got to watch a bit of the Penn State and Ohio State match, and both teams played really good volleyball. The Buckeyes had a chance to win the second set against the Nittany Lions at match point; however, PSU fought back and got the win. I think that what this highlights is the Big Ten’s depth.
- The biggest movers are the Purdue Boilermakers, who beat Ohio State in five sets and Indiana in three. Purdue, now No. 4 in the country, had a really scrappy fight against the Buckeyes in the five set game, coming back from two sets to one down to win.
The 14-year streak continues.— Purdue Volleyball (@PurdueVB) September 26, 2021
The Monon Spike is staying with us. pic.twitter.com/nZtNByVAxA
Superstar Grace Cleveland and Caitlyn Newton each had 15 kills, while Newtown had 13 digs for a double double while Cleveland was close to one because she had nine digs. Setter Hayley Bush also had a double double, but with a lot of assists (47 to be exact) and 13 digs. Then their libero Jena Otec had 22 digs.
So Purdue’s defense was pretty much lights out in their comeback. Against Indiana, it was easier in the sweep as Cleveland again had double digits kills. The Boilermakers also had 12 blocks to the Hoosiers’ four. They’ll be very big players in the Big Ten race.
- Nebraska got back on the right foot in Big Ten play, as they beat cellar dwellers Northwestern (3-1) and Iowa (3-0) to get some mojo back. Outside hitter Madi Kubik racked up the kills in both games, scoring 19 against the Wildcats and 15 against Iowa. Nebraska will next face Michigan in what could be a close game as the Wolverines have looked feisty in conference play...
- Look at this marvelous transition: The Wolverines were feisty against Minnesota, but unable to pull off the reverse sweep (coming back from 0-2 down to win) on Friday night. Michigan was at first down bad in the third set but started to rally thanks to some hard hitting from their pins. Minnesota gave up a big run and eventually lost the third set 25-23. Then Michigan kept the momentum into the fourth to win that.
Then I think Minnesota’s talent took over and won the fifth set. That talent includes Stephanie Samedy, who had a double double with 17 digs and 30 KILLS. Obviously, with that kind of talent, the Gophers will go as long as Samedy continues to play like that. But if she has an off night...look out.
Another 30 kill night from @StephanieSamedy helps lift the #Gophers to 1-0 in the B1G! pic.twitter.com/FARwBvVDx5— Minnesota Volleyball (@GopherVBall) September 25, 2021
The Gophers will play a little team called the Wisconsin Badgers on Friday. I’ll have a full preview on that later in the week.